46: Smart Collaboration with Harvard Law School Fellow Dr. Heidi Gardner

Combing Specialized Talent to Solve Client Business Problems

Dr. Heidi Gardner Bio

Nicole talks with Dr. Heidi Gardner a distinguished fellow in the center for the legal profession at Harvard Law School. Our conversation highlights Dr. Gardner’s recently published book ‘Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos’.

Evidence shows that strong collaboration leads to higher profits and more dedicated and committed employees and that clients are more loyal when served by multiple partners.

Competence trust is the highest barrier to collaboration amongst partners. Professional skills are more of a concern than technical skills.

Requiring a business plan and specific collaborative activities before agreeing to bring lateral hires into a firm goes a long way towards integrating the lateral for longer-term success and client retention.

Ladder your client teams for a more client-centric approach. Natural conversations expand and become sophisticated conversations.

Newly elevated partners are keen to develop client relationships.   Use them on client assignments versus the ‘guru’ and gain a strong commitment and partner for success.

The role of the ringmaster is to keep ‘the tigers on their stools’. Create an incentive structure that supports collaboration and rewards both origination and ongoing client work.

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